Despite the commanding tone of his show’s title, John Gordillo doesn’t actually come across as a fan of Capitalism as an economic and social system. Especially given the post-industrial-stage which Capitalism appears to have now reached, during this first quarter of the 21st century. This is, allegedly, the age when we’re expected to feel good about things – such as the numerous near-monopolies in our public transport infrastructure – that we have no choice about using. A sign of this is how we’re now – constantly – harassed by companies wanting us to feel good, and checking up on our experience in the name of caring when (of course) what they’re really up to is undertaking simple data-mining in order to sell on our details to advertisers. You know things have gone too far, Gordillo suggests, when you’re even asked to rate your “security experience” at Heathrow. Who in their right mind, he asks, would ever consider selecting the oh-so-positive smiley face after getting through security alive before boarding their flight?
the heart of the show is Gordillo’s intelligent, if not always laugh-a-minute pronouncements
Gordillo comes across as a respectable, thoughtful middle-class Englishman, probably because he is one – a self-declared former pornography and escort addiction adding a little shade and colour. He’s not the cliche of some feel-good Guardian reader, however; nor is he someone who suggests violent revolution against the multinational corporations whose brands and dreams are pitched at us numerous times every day. With the earnest keenness of the recently inspired, he certainly wants to open our eyes to the ethical limits of capitalism; that once you commodify something within a consumer framework, value goes out the window. He resists using the cliché of “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”, but mines some real comedy out of the basic idea. That, for example, the Grand Canyon isn’t really something that should be judged on “convenience”; that such an awe-inspiring wonder of the natural world shouldn’t be reduced to star rating on TripAdvisor.
Gordillo’s campaigning response to this particular symptom of Capitalism – seen in a closing video – is certainly amusing, although even in 2016 any stand-up still risks the malicious attention of gremlins when introducing any audio-visual aids to the stage. (This is particularly the case in any multi-show venue where the set-up/take-down period between shows is barely 10 minutes.) Luckily, though, the video display is a useful add-on rather than an absolutely vital feature of the show; the heart of the show is Gordillo’s intelligent, if not always laugh-a-minute pronouncements.